Shaz and Ali Morton are crofters and designers. Together they have spent more than three years restoring and rebuilding Mint Croft in Waternish, an area in north-west Skye, but this was no ordinary croft house transformation.
Ali is a master builder and product designer, while Shaz was formerly a production designer for film and theatre. Together they have designed and built the interiors and made some of the furniture.
Mint Croft now comprises The Blackhouse and The Stonestore Suites, originally built more than 150 years ago with stones from the field. The turf which features on the roof of The Blackhouse was dug by Ali from the same field.
On the turf roof wild flowers including orchids come into flower throughout the summer. Their mission has been to create warm and inviting interiors where guests can relax in beautiful surroundings.
The croft is six acres, with 920 acres of common grazings. Shaz is the grazings clerk for the township. The croft had been in the MacKinnon family for generations and the pair have taken the best of what they built and updated it.
As new crofters, this goes hand in hand with their relationship with the land – sustainability and self-sufficiency are as important as the quality and attention to detail in their accommodation, food, service and atmosphere they offer their guests.
That hard work has seen Mint Croft receive a top award from VisitScotland.
Shaz said: “We’re over the moon to receive VisitScotland’s Five Star accreditation for Mint Croft Luxury B&B. We continue the Highland tradition of welcoming visitors from near and far into our croft home where we continue the living tradition of crofting into the 21st century, following generations who built with stone, wood and turf from the land.”
Guests staying in The Stonestore Suite will find themselves in a spacious, light filled two-storey bedroom apartment with large picture windows and stunning views out to the sea cliffs and the beach beyond. Some say The Stonestore was originally the old infirmary for the township.
It is decorated in a gentle palette of wool, local sheepskin and linens, inspired by the shimmering light on Loch Snizort.
A roomy, relaxing sitting space has a generous sofa and a comfortable reading chair. The Fired Earth bathroom has a large bath with a rain drench shower.
The Blackhouse Suite is an updated, traditional Hebridean Blackhouse with a turf roof. The walls are nearly one metre thick and make this room very cosy. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in maximum light and look out to Loch Snizort and onwards to the islands of Harris and Lewis.
A comfortable sitting area has a relaxing sofa and reading chair. The room is decorated with Harris Tweed and beautiful linens inspired by the colours of the flowers and plants on the surrounding land.
Shaz & Ali designed and built the interiors to individual design and these blend antique with contemporary, pattern and texture, Scottish textiles designed by Timorous Beasties, Anta, Harris Tweed Hebrides and gorgeously soft Skyeskyns sheepskins mixed with traditional fabrics by Zoffany, Sanderson & Harlequin.